Simone Resta, currently technical director of Alfa Romeo, will be starting work back at Scuderia Ferrari after the summer break and will work on the design of the 2021 Ferrari. He will spend his gardening leave working with Ferrari on road car development.
This will be the fourth change of technical direction at Maranello since 2016 when James Allison departed. Mattia Binotto took over initially, but he would move on to become team principal at the end of 2018, since when there has been a group of technical managers running the technical side at Maranello.
The move shows that the influence of Ferrari with FCA is still considerable, even if they are separate entities on paper and it is expected that a new appointment at Sauber be someone coming from Ferrari’s F1 programme. If this occurs, which I am told it will, it will underline the tight links between the Alfa Romeo and Scuderia Ferrari teams. The team itself is still the old Sauber, but there is a deal for the Italians to have a measure of control without ownership, as the active involvement of the real owners appears limited as the day-to-day decision-making is done by Frederic Vasseur, who was in a strong position to negotiate the terms of his appointment when he was hired. Thus far, this seems to serve everyone well. The owners don’t have much to do but are holding on to the asset; Ferrari has a B team where it can train up its staff and which has a vote when it comes to politics and Alfa Romeo (FCA) has a presence in F1 which it hopes will help to sell more road cars. At the moment Alfa is struggling in the markets, despite having good products in the Giulia and the Stelvio.